Marvel One-Shot: All Hail The King
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Scoot McNairy, Lester Speight
Director: Drew Pearce
Studio: Marvel Studios
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Genre(s): Comedy, Action, Comic Book, Short Film
Based On: Marvel Comics, Iron Man 3
Review Spoilers: Moderate
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Oh Marvel One-Shots, you’ve come so far since the days of two minute shorts showing how awesome Phil Coulson is. Between Item 47 and Agent Carter, they’ve become short films bolstering the canon of the MCU in interesting ways. Item 47 in particular makes me sad that Lizzy Caplan has been too busy playing Virginia Johnson on Masters of Sex to play Claire again. (Though, not that sad. She’s awesome on Masters of Sex.)
So how do you take a series of films that introduced the audience to Coulson kicking ass, the concept of S.H.I.E.L.D. taking promising Black Hats on board, and Peggy Carter’s life after taking on HYDRA?
By making motherfrakkin’ Ben Kingsley the star of one.
Taking place after Iron Man 3, All Hail The King is centered around Trevor Slatterly, the out of work actor hired by Aldrich Killian to be the face of a warlord named The Mandarin. Slatterly has been locked away into Seagate Prison, where he’s living like a king with his own “butler” named Herman (Lester Speight) and a rabid fanbase that’s ready to defend him whenever he needs it. Between that and being the focus of a documentary by Jackson Norriss (Scoot McNairy). Life’s not bad for this out of work actor.
Well, it’s gonna get a lot worse.
I’ll admit that Trevor Slatterly was the last person I expected to have a Marvel One-Shot about him, but much like Iron Man 3, Ben Kingsley just SELLS it. Trev comes across as that perfect mix of hilarious and pathetic as he did in Iron Man 3 and even brings a little bit of emotion with the part about how close he was with his mother, but wasn’t even there when she died. Of course, this then transitions to the most hilarious fake TV opening ever. Odin bless Caged Heat so much. Bless it and all its beauty it bestowed upon us. Mostly for the monkey drinking vodka, Trev’s terrible wig, and the first MCU appearance of Matt Fraction’s Tracksuit Mafia.
Of course, it’s not all fun and games for Trev. As oblivious as he was to the stuff Killian was doing under the name The Mandarin, he’s even more ignorant to the real life basis for The Mandarin and The Ten Rings in what ends up becoming the biggest lesson in cultural appropriation ever.
I’m not sure how I feel about what the ending of All Hail The King implies since I was firmly in the camp of “This is genius” for turning the expectations for The Mandarin on its head, but I do have faith that they won’t screw it up too bad for future installments. Director and writer Drew Pearce did co-write Iron Man 3 and as long as they keep him on board, I have faith that All Hail The King could be the jumping off point for something pretty damn cool.
Final Thoughts: Funny and slick, All Hail The King is a great continuation of the Trevor Slatterly storyline from Iron Man 3. It also has the greatest cameo ever at the end. EVER.